LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As temperatures fall, COVID numbers are rising across New York, especially upstate. That lead Gov. Kathy Hochul to require either masks or proof vaccination for all indoor public spaces—but not both.
“It is very tough for us business owners because of the predicament that we are in, having to choose a side: option A or option B,” says Matthew Doheny, who runs ABC Fitness in Latham, “you know we are going to upset some people, it’s just how many people are you going to upset. And also, financially the risk that we’re taking. No matter which side you choose, we’re going to take a major setback financially during our busiest time of the year.”
Doheny says he is most likely going to require proof of vaccination for gym-goers. “Masks suck,” Doheny says bluntly, “it’s just not a fun thing to police them. It’s also slightly a danger to the staff because not everyone is nice when you ask them to go out and put on their mask or wear them correctly. It’s a lot more of a hassle for the business side of things.”
Doheny says his staff will have guests check-in normally with the addition of showing proof of vaccination. Each guest’s vaccination status will be logged into the gym’s system so they do not have to show it each time they work out.
Other gyms, like VENT Fitness, will be requiring masks for anyone working out saying, “VENT Fitness will reinstate our previous mask policies in accordance with original and current NYS guidance.”
New York State first enacted a mask mandate in April 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. The mandate was subsequently rescinded in June of 2021 for vaccinated individuals. Some businesses could face a $1,000 fine per violation if caught not enforcing the rules.
Some counties like Rensselaer say they do not plan to enforce the new mandate. In a statement on Friday, County Executive Steve McLaughlin announced, “Rensselaer County will not utilize resources to enforce this new state mandate. If the state wants to enforce the mandate, the state will need to utilize state resources for those actions.”
New York joins states like Washington, Oregon and New Mexico with similar COVID mandates.